Black As Night [Grade: C+]

Director: Maritte Lee Go

Story By: Sherman Payne

Cast: Asjha Cooper, Keith David, Fabrizio Guido, Mason Beauchamp, Abbie Gayle, Sammy Nagi Njuguna, Kenneisha Thompson, & Craig Tate

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Chile… What did I watch? LOL But you know, I am not going to lie…it wasn’t a bad film at all. For the demographic it’s geared towards, it’s actually pretty solid. 

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Below are my grades for key components in #BlackAsNight that I find to be key in any story/film/series—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character Arc/Development. 

Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch/$$$, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start), Wait for Streaming, Don’t Rush, & Don’t Watch.

I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale.

* * *

Theme: F

Plot & Story: A

Pacing: B

Character Arc/Development: B

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Entertainment Factors

General Public: Don’t Watch

Film Enthusiasts: Don’t Watch

Experience Seekers (via Visuals & Score): Don’t Watch

YA Horror Fans: Interesting Enough

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TAKEAWAYS:

1. One thing I definitely appreciated about this film is the way it moves. It wastes no time getting viewers to the vampires and the conflict. This is definitely one of the film’s saving graces. 👍🏾

2. The makeup and vampire visuals were actually pretty good. 👍🏾👍🏾

3. Messaging was a little rough. Yeah, there’s this focus on the main character embracing her uniqueness, but that isn’t what this film is about at the core. It’s a nice and important side message, but also one that is a little forced (and slightly outdated, socially). 

What was missing for me was the protagonist actually having a very blatant and active ideology flaw connected to the context/origin of the conflict. I felt like the film tiptoed around it, and focused more on Shawna’s yearning relationship and support for her mom vs elevating moments where she disagreed with the “cause” to then reach the conclusion in Act 3. 🤷🏾‍♂️

In Act One she just makes a comment; then Act Two abandons the origin of the conflict and focuses more on the vampire encounter, conflict, and journey to understand the vampires; and Act Three continues to leave the origin behind and focus on the response to resolve the conflict, and learning more about the vampires and the villain’s motive.

4. I really appreciated the background to the villain and his motivation. 👍🏾👍🏾

5. That ending knock at the door! 😂

6. Black As Night is story about a teenager turned avenger after an encounter and incident involving vampires suddenly impacts her life. 

Again, pacing really allowed this story to flow surprisingly well. Act One allows viewers to meet the protagonist, her motivation, her conflict, and sets in motion her purpose. I felt like this all happened in about 30-40 minutes  without feeling too rushed or choppy. 

Act Two gives allows viewers to learn about these vampires and their existence through our protagonist’s journey of discovery, and watch her start to take action. 

Act Three is the clearer understanding and continued determination for resolution and vengeance as well as knowledge about our villain and his motivations/purpose. 

And this is all executed while also maintaining a teenage spirit via typical teen situations and struggles. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾

7. So when it comes to the arc and development, I am actually a little torn. On one hand the film does a good job developing Shawna in regards to her ability to face the vampires. The arc also acts as an additional support to that particular character development. 

BUT…I also feel that pacing moved a little too fast and kept Shawna from actually having an arc and experiencing a development that aligned with her final actions in Act 3, which goes back to my statement about the theme. 🥴🤷🏾‍♂️

8. Although the “skin” thing felt forced, I liked how they attempted to connect it to being a vampire. 👍🏾

9. The acting…I mean, outside of Keith David, was iffy at times. 🥴

10. Chile…Pedro defending himself in the kitchen with the vampire… I just can’t. 😩🤦🏾‍♂️😂

* * *

Overall #BlackAsNight gives Buffy the Vampire Slayer – meets Daniel Jose Older’s Shadowshaper – meets Tales from the Hood – meets Dark Girls documentary – meets Lila Bowen’s Wake of Vultures. 

I was quite surprised at how cohesive this film was, and even how decent the visual effects were. The film definitely has a clear audience due to its young adult vibe made obvious from the opening scene of colors—dark yet youthful with the intentional pops of color in the grass and graffiti. 

When the film ended, my first thought was “this film was strangely cute…” I do think this could’ve definitely been more successfully executed as a modern YA vampire series, though. 

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